It turns out that Valve might be able to count to three after all, if a series of leaks regarding the third entry in the Left 4 Dead franchise ring true. The post-apocalyptic zombie shooter has proven hugely popular since its inception in 2008, and it seems fans are clamouring like the undead for more.
While details on Left 4 Dead 3 remain relatively sparse, we’ve compiled all the information currently circulating, including some new features we’d like to see.
We'll be updating this page if and when any new information is revealed, so be sure to bookmark it.
What is Left 4 Dead 3?
Left 4 Dead 3 is the rumoured third entry in Valve’s co-operative action shooter, once again pitting you and a selection of unlucky friends against hordes of zombies.
Recent titles placed an intense focus on multiplayer action, so we can expect this to make a welcome return.
Left 4 Dead 3 release date – When is it coming out?
We have no idea. Valve is yet to even acknowledge the existence of Left 4 Dead 3, beyond a few subtle leaks, so an official release date is put a pipe dream at this point.
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It’s worth noting that the release gap between Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 was incredibly small, so Valve may just spring the third installment on us out of nowhere, as it's long overdue.
Left 4 Dead 3 gameplay – How does it play?
Valve has never been a developer to stray too far from what it knows best, and the same could be said for Left 4 Dead 3. Portal 2, Half Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 all set new standards for their respective genres, pushing the boundaries in terms of mechanics and in-game storytelling.
Left 4 Dead 3 has the potential to follow in such footsteps, pushing its insane co-operative action to infectious new heights. The fast-paced action will no doubt return with brutal, innovative new ways of dispatching the undead through a series of unique scenarios.
It’s difficult to determine what changes Valve could make to the established formula considering its already so iconic in the gaming landscape. Existing mechanics will likely be refined in ways that make the gameplay feel consistently smoother, bloodier and more satisfying.
Left 4 Dead 3 – What we’d like to see
The cast of characters in previous games have proven to be vast, varied and sometimes hilarious. By combining unique characters with overblown personalities Left 4 Dead crafted its own distinct identity. We’d love to see this expanded even further with in-depth character customization.
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In recent months we’ve seen games like Overwatch make addicts of players with its selection of skins and sprays for its slew of playable heroes. Left 4 Dead 3 could easily replicate such an experience by giving us the option to customise its characters to our liking.
Better replay value
The replay value in Left 4 Dead has always been impressive thanks to the unpredictable AI Director, changing where and when you might encounter the infected. Unfortunately, the limited selection of maps made this feature feel underwhelming, making each encounter a matter of endurance as opposed to tension.
Left 4 Dead 3 could solve this issue in a number of ways, whether it be through a larger variety of maps or more diverse enemies.
Virtual reality support
Valve has already shown its keen interest in virtual reality with the launch of HTC Vive, so what better way to flaunt this new medium with a juggernaut franchise like Left 4 Dead? The act of dispatching the undead has already been shown in VR with the likes of Virtually Dead and Arizona Sunshine, and Left 4 Dead 3 could take this to the next level.
Imagine clutching your controller in the midst of a dynamic virtual environment swarming with infected beasties. It has the potential to be a terrifyingly brutal power fantasy where you can take on the swarms alone, or with a group of tech-savvy friends.
If this comes to fruition it will have to be an optional avenue of play given how large an audience Valve must appeal to. Regardless, a major franchise such as this adopting VR so confidently would be huge for the medium.
More varied combat
The addition of melee weapons in Left 4 Dead 2 was fantastic, showing just how much you could achieve with a simplistic suite of weapons and such refined gameplay mechanics. Despite this, combat felt as if it lacked impact, immediately growing repetitive as you sliced through yet another bombardment of enemies.
An updated combat system that feels more impactful, varied and satisfying would be much appreciated. The odds of Left 4 Dead 3 coming to Source Engine 2 is pretty high, which should bring with it a slew of worthwhile improvements to the established formula.
Such improvements should also make solo-play far more viable than ever before. Left 4 Dead’s appeal has always lied with dispatching hordes of undead alongside your friends, and this, unfortunately, isn’t for everyone.
What would you like to see from Left 4 Dead 3? Let us know in the comments!